Microsoft is clearly pushing itself to appear more innovative, and not just with Windows 8, but with Windows 8 peripherals like the ultra-portable Wedge Touch Mouse. It crams all of the touch functionality of last year’s Microsoft Touch Mouse into a tiny mouse with Bluetooth connectivity. However, the tiny size and extra functionality won't do much for deskbound users or those with systems running Windows 7, so it's tough to recommend this peripheral to a broad audience.
Design and features
The Wedge Touch Mouse is tiny, weighing just 60 grams and measuring 58 x 51 x 28mm (WxDxH) – about the size of a thick stack of Post-it notes, but with a distinctive wedge profile as the name suggests. As wireless mice go, it's the polar opposite of the HP Wi-Fi Touch Mouse X7000, which boasted Wi-Fi connectivity, but weighed 170 grams and was too big for comfortable use.
The Wedge Mouse takes compact design to a new level, chopping off the entire back half of the traditional mouse, leaving only the right and left buttons. But these aren't your usual mouse buttons, either, as the two clickable buttons are actually part of a single clickable surface – and the entire surface also functions as a touchpad.
Your first inclination may be to grab it with the tapered end facing toward you, but that's backwards. The downward slope serves as the two buttons of your mouse. With no palm rest, however, your hand will either rest on the desk or tabletop being used, or it will be held just off the surface, which I can't imagine will do good things ergonomically.
The design isn't simply compact, it's made for portability as well. The small mouse features a "Backpack Mode," which senses when the mouse has been lifted from the desk surface and inactive for a while, switching power off automatically. Microsoft's BlueTrack technology allows the Wedge Mouse to be used on virtually any surface that doesn't have a mirror finish. So you can use it nearly anywhere – on the back of a book, across your trouser leg, on the arm of a couch, and so forth.
Scrolling (both vertical and horizontal) is simple and intuitive, and achieved by simply dragging a finger on the touch surface. Horizontal scrolling becomes all the more important in Windows 8, because the Start screen stretches out to the sides whether in portrait or landscape orientations.
Setup and performance
Setup is simple: Insert an AA battery (the compartment is on the side of the device, see the below image) and power on the mouse. Press the Bluetooth Connect button for three to five seconds, and then add the mouse using your Control Panel under Add a Device. Within moments, you'll be up and running.
Once you're connected, all of your usual cursor control and left and right clicking functions will work without any trouble. The one area you might find troublesome is scrolling, as the mouse uses its touchable surface for both vertical and horizontal movement.
While vertical scrolling is pretty simple, horizontal scrolling might take some getting used to, as it means swiping your finger from side to side, a move that isn't as ingrained for long-time mouse users. You'll also need to grow accustomed to scrolling without clicking, as the finger used for clicking is the same one you'll be swiping side to side.
The Wedge Touch Mouse is easily one of the most portable and versatile mice we've reviewed – it's certainly the smallest – and the addition of four-way scrolling is indispensable for Windows 8 users who may not have a touchscreen to work with.
However, the super-compact design may be a bit further outside of the box than some users want to go. It's definitely the mouse to grab if you need both portability and Windows 8-friendly four-way scrolling, but for deskbound users and other operating systems, there are better, cheaper mice available.